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Books
  • Lines of Charm: Brilliant And Irreverent Quotes, Notes, And Anecdotes from Golf's Golden Age Architects
    Lines of Charm: Brilliant And Irreverent Quotes, Notes, And Anecdotes from Golf's Golden Age Architects
  • The Future of Golf: How Golf Lost Its Way and How to Get It Back
    The Future of Golf: How Golf Lost Its Way and How to Get It Back
    by Geoff Shackelford
  • Grounds for Golf: The History and Fundamentals of Golf Course Design
    Grounds for Golf: The History and Fundamentals of Golf Course Design
    by Geoff Shackelford
  • The Art of Golf Design
    The Art of Golf Design
    by Michael Miller, Geoff Shackelford
  • Alister MacKenzie's Cypress Point Club
    Alister MacKenzie's Cypress Point Club
    by Geoff Shackelford
  • The Golden Age of Golf Design
    The Golden Age of Golf Design
    by Geoff Shackelford
  • The Good Doctor Returns: A Novel
    The Good Doctor Returns: A Novel
    by Geoff Shackelford
  • Masters of the Links: Essays on the Art of Golf and Course Design
    Masters of the Links: Essays on the Art of Golf and Course Design
  • The Captain: George C. Thomas Jr. and His Golf Architecture
    The Captain: George C. Thomas Jr. and His Golf Architecture
    by Geoff Shackelford
Current Reading
  • Men in Green
    Men in Green
    by Michael Bamberger
  • Unplayable Lies: (The Only Golf Book You'll Ever Need)
    Unplayable Lies: (The Only Golf Book You'll Ever Need)
    by Dan Jenkins
  • Professional Golf 2015: The Complete Media, Fan and Fantasy Guide
    Professional Golf 2015: The Complete Media, Fan and Fantasy Guide
    by Daniel Wexler
  • The Forbidden Game: Golf and the Chinese Dream
    The Forbidden Game: Golf and the Chinese Dream
    by Dan Washburn
  • Arnie, Seve, and a Fleck of Golf History: Heroes, Underdogs, Courses, and Championships
    Arnie, Seve, and a Fleck of Golf History: Heroes, Underdogs, Courses, and Championships
    by Bill Fields
  • The Magnificent Masters: Jack Nicklaus, Johnny Miller, Tom Weiskopf, and the 1975 Cliffhanger at Augusta
    The Magnificent Masters: Jack Nicklaus, Johnny Miller, Tom Weiskopf, and the 1975 Cliffhanger at Augusta
    by Gil Capps
  • Unplayable Lies: (The Only Golf Book You'll Ever Need)
    Unplayable Lies: (The Only Golf Book You'll Ever Need)
    by Dan Jenkins

    Kindle Edition

Classics
  • Golf Architecture in America: Its Strategy and Construction
    Golf Architecture in America: Its Strategy and Construction
    by Geo. C. Thomas
  • The Course Beautiful : A Collection of Original Articles and Photographs on Golf Course Design
    The Course Beautiful : A Collection of Original Articles and Photographs on Golf Course Design
    Treewolf Prod
  • Reminiscences Of The Links
    Reminiscences Of The Links
    by Albert Warren Tillinghast, Richard C. Wolffe, Robert S. Trebus, Stuart F. Wolffe
  • Gleanings from the Wayside
    Gleanings from the Wayside
    by Albert Warren Tillinghast
  • Planet Golf USA: The Definitive Reference to Great Golf Courses in America
    Planet Golf USA: The Definitive Reference to Great Golf Courses in America
    by Darius Oliver
  • Planet Golf: The Definitive Reference to Great Golf Courses Outside the United States of America
    Planet Golf: The Definitive Reference to Great Golf Courses Outside the United States of America
    by Darius Oliver
Writing And Videos

The tournament [The Masters] had one thing going for it -- Bobby Jones. He was its sole raison d'etre. If it was assailable, he was not. Golf genuflected before the name of Bobby Jones. It was as if God put together the tournament. Let no man put asunder.  JIM MURRAY


    

Wednesday
Apr012015

Augusta National Makes Special Preparations For Tiger

Preparations for the arrival of Tiger Woods paid immediate dividends for Masters officials Tuesday when the four-time champion practiced at the club and reportedly hit a few of his trademark poor wedge shots.

The most noticeable Tiger-driven change seen at the famed club? Large batting practice style screens at the club’s professional practice area.

“They were installed at the practice greens to protect other players working on their short game in case Tiger decided to do some wedge game work,” said a source who saw but did not use the professional practice area reserved exclusively for Masters contestants. “Tiger bladed one when he was warming up Tuesday but the screen stopped him from bruising one of Gunn Yang’s ankles.”

Rumors of the protective screens filtered out in recent days as contestants and friends visited the club’s player-only practice facility. The tall screens were shipped in from an unnamed Florida spring training site, though one visitor said they appeared to belong to the Yankees and were repainted Masters green. The screens allowed Woods to working out short game kinks that have included skulls, chunks, half-blades and lofted Alfredo-Blados.

“The club thinks of everything, even painting them the perfect shade of green,” said Notah Begay, reached by Golf Central after attending Woods’ Augusta National practice session as the consultant to swing consultant Chris Como. “When I first saw them I didn’t think the fences were necessary considering it’s a 65/35 chance he even hits someone with one of his less-than-flush, inaccurately released wedge shots. Turned out it was more likely 99/1.”

Club officials would not comment on how the screens will impact Sunday’s Drive, Chip and Putt Championship, which incorporates the same practice greens for the competition. Though their portability suggests the screens will be put away when Woods is not practicing.

“Hopefully this Sunday they put the screens in storage so that the young kids do not see them,” said the source. “No child should have to see those and be left to wonder what kind of demons Tiger is fighting.”

Wednesday
Apr012015

Chris Berman To Rekindle U.S. Open Duties For Fox Sports

Responding to the USGA’s desire to retain longtime audiences while appealing to possible new U.S. Open fans, Fox Sports and ESPN have reached an agreement that allows whimsical anchor Chris Berman to keep his streak of 30 U.S. Open appearances intact.

“I can’t thank John ‘Shipwreck’ Shipper and Eric ‘I Have Tiger’ Shanks enough for reaching an agreement that lets me get to Chambers Bay this June,” Berman said in a statement. “In the last year of our ESPN contract, fans constantly asked me how much longer I would be doing the U.S. Open telecasts. Until this agreement, I would tell them this was the end. The ensuing hugs and screams of sheer joy always meant so much to me.”

Berman will co-anchor all on-site studio shows with Fox’s Holly Sonders. He will also team former U.S. Open Champion Corey Pavin to announce early afternoon Thursday and Friday play in the same witty manner he did in his nearly three decades with ESPN.

“I’ll miss working with Rog ‘Chocolate’ Maltbie, but I can’t think of a more lively, vivacious and downright funny broadcast partner than Corey 'This Pothole Needs' Pavin. How he didn’t get the Tonight Show gig after Leno is still a mystery to me. But NBC’s loss is our gain.”

In exchange for loaning Berman to the Fox broadcast, ESPN will receive the right to broadcast highlights of Fox Sports 1’s coverage of select FIM Moto2 motorcycle racing and whenever Mike Francesca nods off during an interview.

Wednesday
Apr012015

Repurposing Glen Garden Into Golf's First Millennial-Only Facility

According to its new owners, the shuttered Fort Worth course where Ben Hogan and Byron Nelson once caddied is set to be re-imagined as America’s first millennial-only golf facility.

“Combining a craft whiskey distillery with an Uber-branded interactive golf experience giving millennials what they desire should bring Glen Garden back to life,” said a spokesman for Firestone & Robertson Distillery, the partners who bought the historic course and plan to expand their existing whiskey business.

Plans call for a shortening of the golf course to 9-holes by a craft architect, with artisanally made signage in millennial-friendly lower case fonts and occasionally misspelled typography throughout the revamped layout.

“We’ve found the sweet spot for what millennials like, we believe,” said the spokesman who asked that the course be known as glengarden going forward so as to not confuse millennials with upper case letters and more than one word.

The course's emphasis on new signage will help millennials attached to their phone screen find the course’s mobile device charging stations situated at each tee and green. Made out of recycled whiskey barrels, the stations will feature fingerprint readers next to oversized “Like” and “Share” buttons so that millennials who log in before their rounds and notify their friends of their views of each hole as their phone charges.

These stations will also allow Generation Y to place orders for whiskey from the distillery or to grab Uber-branded cart rides from the course to the distillery if their attention span begins to wane. On-site doctors will also make sure that no one is improperly mixing whiskey with the array of attention-deficit drugs popular with the under-34 set.

“Millennials love a party, so the idea of combining craft golf with craft whiskey and artisanal tech should be a winner in the eyes of DFW millennials,” said Colin Fey, a leading expert on central Texas millennialism. “It’s estimated that millennials in Dallas/Fort Worth will be spending $300 million annually in recreational activity by 2019 when many have paid off their student loan debts, so glengarden should be well positioned to take advantage.”

Asked if the Hogan and Nelson mystique will appeal to millennials, Fey said no.

“Millennials don’t know who those people are and neither do I. But if you tell me a story about them hanging out with movie stars back in speakeasies and they have a life narrative that screams of authenticity or the party lifestyle, then it might be different.”

The revamped glengarden and whiskey distillery expects to reopen in early 2016.

Wednesday
Apr012015

Rory, British Press Hit NYC To Pre-Celebrate Career Grand Slam

Kicking off his coronation as the next career Grand Slam winner, Rory McIlroy hosted several members of the British golf media last weekend at some of Northern Irishman’s favorite New York City nightclubs. According to eyewitnesses, McIlroy and father Gerry listened intently during sometimes emotional toasts from writers and television presenters saluting his forthcoming Masters win and third straight major victory.

“It was moving to see so many media members open up and profess just how much Rory means to their lives,” said golf blogger Stephanie Wei, who happened to be at The Electric Room when Rory and his entourage arrived just after the bar’s 11 p.m. opening. Wei said the McIlroy group was trailed by representatives of outlets including BBC, Sky Sports, The Times, The Irish Independent, The Irish Times, The Guardian, The Daily Telegraph The Daily Mail, Scotland on Sunday, The Scotsman and even Rory’s hometown paper, The Holywood Pence Saver.

“There were several toasts and hip-hip-hoorays, even a salute to the Queen,” Wei said. “At one point I looked over and saw Rory roll up his shirt and flex his biceps. Several of the group were touching his muscles in awe. It was a bit much.”

As a DJ spun hip-hop tunes, two media members--who Wei refused to identify--shed tears while toasting Rory for not being like Tiger. Each media type ended their salutes by hugging the golfing great as father Gerry encircled the hug to make it a group embrace. After the unusually public show of emotion, several media members awarded a fake Masters green jacket to McIlroy and took a group selfie with the presumptive winner.

Just as the party appeared to be wrapping up well past the normal writer bedtime, Rory stood on one of the Electric Room’s leather booth seats and yelled out, “Come on you wankers, it’s only 1 am, let’s show Chelsea that golf writers are the dope!”

Various media members were seen fetching cabs as McIlroy and his entourage jumped in a black SUV destined for 1Oak, another favorite haunt from Rory’s previous major championship celebrations.

At one point, Rory and his media friends were seen using a homeless man’s cane to re-enact the infamous club hurl from Doral. But at 3:30 am, the NYPD was called to West 17th Street when neighbors reported a ruckus involving the media members haggling with a Halal Guys food cart vendor. The man reportedly refused to give the scribes separate receipts for their grilled purchases.

Tuesday
Mar312015

One Of These 12 Golfers Will Win The Masters*

*I think.

Handicapping any golf tournament is dangerous business. You don’t know whose neck tightened up from a bad hotel pillow or whose wife yelled at them before they left the rental house.

That said, the Masters has become the easiest tournament to handicap for a few reasons: the course again favoring bombers and putters, and the drumbeat of golf leading into the event that lets us see who is playing well and the patterns which develop from playing the same venue each year.

With those caveats in mind, and the agony of leaving Brandt Snedeker off the list in favor of flu-ridden Henrik Stenson, here is my GolfDigest.com list of the only twelve names (and alternates) to remember for your 2015 Masters pool picks. One of them will win. I guarantee it.

Tuesday
Mar312015

DiMarco: Tiger Had No Back Injury At Torrey, Just Embarrassed

Chris DiMarco, who battled Tiger at the Masters and has always professed his admiration for Woods, couldn't help but say what he (and most of Tiger's peers) really thought on a Golf Channel conference call to promote the network's Masters coverage.

The topic was Tiger's supposed back issues at Torrey Pines, which resembled his Firestone walk-off in that he didn't give any consideration to visiting the PGA Tour fitness trailer for help with the pain. Why not when you can sit on your plane and let things really tighten up!

Tod Leonard reports:

“I think the reason he WD’d in San Diego is there was no back problem; he was embarrassed to be out there. He wasn’t doing anything good, and I think there was something wrong and he couldn’t take care of it,” DiMarco said on a conference call to promote the Golf Channel’s coverage of next week’s Masters.

Tuesday
Mar312015

Tiger Plays 18 At Augusta, Not Sure About Competitive Return

It's not quite on the level of Hogan teetering on a return date after the bus accident, but 18 at Augusta National was not enough for Tiger to say for sure whether he's playing the Masters.

ESPN.com's Bob Harig with this cautious statement from agent Mark Steinberg:

"Tiger clearly is working hard and he will advise as to when he is ready to play competitively," said Mark Steinberg, Woods' agent, in an email.

I don't know about clearly, but he's doing something. Just not committing to playing tournament golf.

The Augusta Chronicle's Scott Michaux, who broke the news of Tiger playing a round at Augusta, says it was a quick visit.

Woods’ Gulfstream G5 was parked in front of the terminal for private aircraft at Augusta Regional Airport on Tuesday morning and left in the afternoon.

Michaux also shares thoughts on the current state of Tiger from Brandel Chamblee and Chris DiMarco from a Golf Channel conference call.

Tuesday
Mar312015

LPGA Extends Commissioner Whan Into 2019

The story on LPGA.com notes the growth from 23 to 33 events during Mike Whan's first five years and $20 million more in purses.

The short item.

And that was followed by the LPGA's more detailed numbers and analysis sent to players and media:

Tuesday
Mar312015

San Diego's Drive, Chip & Putt Final Four

The San Diego Union-Tribune's Tod Leonard profiles San Diego's four Drive, Chip & Putt contestants who all made it to Augusta National after practicing together late into the night prior to the final qualifying.

Included in his story are brothers who made it, Colin and Shane Ffrench.

Highly competitive, Colin, 15, and Shane, 12, battle it out regularly, often separated by only a few shots. The day of the regional final, their parents were very nervous about one making it if the other did not.

“That would have kind of sucked,” Shane, an eight-grader at Carmel Valley Middle School, said. “I know we both worked really hard to get into this.”

Added Colin, “I couldn’t have imagined doing it without him.”

The Ffrench's also got the full Golf Channel treatment. The "DCP" starts Sunday at 8 am ET.

Monday
Mar302015

Remembering "The Dinah"

While the tournament formerly known as The Dinah gets ready to start this week under yet another name--the ANA Inspiration--Bill Fields files a nice remembrance to ESPNW recalling how the tournament evolved and its most famous tradition came into play.

There was also this, which is a reminder that the purse was once the biggest in women's golf before the event became a major:

LPGA legend Mickey Wright came out of retirement in 1973 to win the event that was then -- and still -- referred to by many as "The Dinah" even though the entertainer's name was controversially removed from the title in 2000. Wright's victory presaged a trend: Just as most of the finest male golfers have tended to win the Masters in their careers, the best female golfers of their eras have prevailed at Mission Hills.

Monday
Mar302015

Trump Ferry Point Still Opening April 1st

...in spite of the weather, which was delivering snow and sub-freezing temperatures last week in New York.

Mark Cannizzaro of the New York Post tells the course's backstory and previews Wednesday's opening for public play. Naturally, The Donald proffered a humble take on the Jack Nicklaus-designed public course.

“There’s never been anything like this ever built in the history of golf,’’ Trump told The Post. “You have a world championship course that fronts the East River that has among the most magnificent views of the city. The skyline of New York is the backdrop for many of the holes.

“No. 1, Jack Nicklaus has done a great signature course. No. 2, it’s a phenomenal piece of land that can hold big events. No. 3, it’s the best location I’ve ever seen for a golf course because you’re right outside Manhattan. They can have people taking buses from Park Avenue and Fifth Avenue.

Too bad it's not in a temperate climate!

Monday
Mar302015

Video: Glen Garden After Closing

The course where Ben Hogan and Byron Nelson caddied and Sandra Palmer learned the game closed last December. But hunting down the legacy of Hogan and Nelson, CNN's Shane O'Donoghue stopped in at Glen Garden CC on a recent winter day to find the now-shuttered course under snow. O'Donoghue says some of the course's holes will remain intact as other parts are developed into an expanded whisky distillery.

The video:

Sandra Baker reported on the course's closing and neighbor hostility toward the new owners.

The Rev. Carl Pointer, who has lived in the Rolling Hills neighborhood near Glen Garden for 35 years and opposed the July rezoning to allow the distillery project, said Thursday he is sad to see how vacant and lifeless the 109.4-acre property has become since the golf course closed Dec. 10.

But Pointer said the neighborhood will become a “gauntlet of protesters” and will contest every event planned for the facility that they find out about.

“We really don’t want this,” Pointer said. “We don’t have a whole lot of confidence in what the new owners say. They’re all over the place. We’re going to make sure the grass is cut and protest every event there.”

Monday
Mar302015

Don't Pencil Boston 2024 Onto Your Bucket List Just Yet

Katharine Seelye and Jere Longman file a lengthy New York Times piece looking at the USOC decision to award Boston 2024 the U.S. bid for the Olympic Games.

Not that golf is assured of even making the 2024 games, but after reading their summation and the hurdles facing Boston from resident backlash, golf at The Country Club in 2024 seems highly unlikely. And future American bids may be in jeopardy.

A collapse of the Boston bid could harm future American attempts to secure the Games and would again raise questions about the leadership and direction of the U.S.O.C.

“If Boston withdraws its bid, it would make it seem like the U.S.O.C. didn’t do a good job choosing its city, didn’t research enough possibilities, didn’t take into account that people in Boston didn’t want the Olympics,” said David Wallechinsky, the president of the International Society of Olympic Historians.

Monday
Mar302015

Rosie: Tiger Improving, Has The Edge Back

And the Masters? Golf World's Tim Rosaforte says yes, the world number 104 will play and he expects a recon trip to Augusta National this week.

That’s what he says in today’s Golf World video report. Taking this under advisement...and believing it when seeing it.

As explained in discussing Rosaforte's report with Damon Hack on Morning Drive, Tiger is not required to give the committee any indication of his intentions unless he is officially withdrawing. There is no entry deadline as there is with a PGA Tour event, merely an accepting of the invitation to play the Masters. And since the tournament does not have alternates, no one is waiting at the first tee to take his place.

This sets up a spectacle scenario where every practice round shot will be scrutinized and every touching of his back will be noted. That’s all fine. But if he starts but doesn’t complete a round at the Masters due to acute release pattern misfiring, the Golf Gods will come down hard on that breach of etiquette.

Sunday
Mar292015

Jimmy Walker: Five PGA Tour Wins In 18 Months

Since five wins was an average season for Tiger, the number isn't overwhelming. But considering that before Jimmy Walker's Valero Texas Open win there had been 19 straight different PGA Tour winners, the win total jumps out (yet he's barely in the OWGR top 10...oy).

Anyway, John Strege notes all of this and more in a GolfDigest.com column following Walker's 5th win in 18 months over Jordan Spieth, who battled late, the Masters Rory McIlroy is supposed to win may have to travel through these red-hot Texans.

McIlroy is a green jacket shy of the career grand slam, and we hear about inevitability (“If Rory doesn't win at Augusta in a few weeks’ time, he’ll win next year. And if he doesn't win next year, then he'll win it the year after,” Darren Clarke said last week). But don’t summon a tailor just yet.

Walker, who has two victories and a playoff loss in 2015, now has five PGA Tour victories in less than 18 months, the impetus for a rapid ascension that has landed him in the top 10 in the World Ranking.

The final round highlights from San Antonio:

Sunday
Mar292015

Punters Note: Masters Field Nears 100 Before WD's

Handicappers, punters and other people of vibrancy will want to note Nick Menta's GolfChannel.com item on the Masters field taking on four very sharp players with its Top 50 OWGR cut off following the Valero Texas Open and the No Spectator Classic in Morocco.

These four are playing some very nice golf and there are reasons to add each to your Masters pool roster--should you delve into the depths of degeneracy--especially Casey, who has a strong Masters track record.

Four players - Anirban Lahiri, Bernd Wiesberger, Branden Grace, Paul Casey- punched their ticket to the Masters on Sunday by virute of their position in the Official World Golf Ranking.

The top 50 in the rankings the week before the Masters earn invitations to Augusta National, and the four aforementioned names were the only ones in the top 50 who weren't already qualified.

Though the 100 number is eye catching, as Bob Harig points out, there are likely to be some defections:

Woods has not played since withdrawing from the Farmers Insurance Open on Feb. 5 with back stiffness and subsequently said he'd be taking time off to work on his game.

Stadler has a wrist injury and hasn't played since the first tournament of 2015 in Hawaii, while Koepka (ribs) and McDowell (ankle) withdrew from the past two tournaments, respectively, with injuries. Stricker has not played since the Hero World Challenge in December and had back surgery shortly thereafter.

Saturday
Mar282015

Is The Modern Ball Hurting Righthanders At Augusta National?

An intriguing theory about the run of southpaws winning at Augusta National (6 of the last 12 winners play lefthanded) was floated by Arron Oberholser with full support from Paul McGinley, working this week on Golf Channel's Golf Central coverage. While others have suggested the talk-to-a-fade-can't-talk-to-a-draw theory, McGinley takes it a step beyond.

Brian Keogh at the Irish Golf Desk reports the on-air conversation between McGinley and Oberholser over Rory McIlroy's chances and the likelihood a lefty will steal his thunder.

"In 2003 the ProV1x came out - the three-piece hard ball.

"My theory is that right handers have a harder time drawing the ball because when you draw the ball as a right hander around Augusta on certain shots — 13, where you really have to draw it hard comes to mind — the ball wants to dive out of the air. There is not enough spin on a draw to be able to hold your line and keep it in the air.

"Now with a fade, naturally the ball spins more and a lefty, especially a big hitting lefty like Bubba (Watson) he can spin that ball a lot more. The ball stays in the air and the ball curves a lot more easily for him. And you can control a fade a lot more than you can control a draw, especially with this new golf ball and the new technology over the last 12 years."

No Pro V's for you guys!

Saturday
Mar282015

Even An 11-Year-Old Can Explain Why We Need A Ball Rollback

Lucy Li was a Drive, Chip and Putt winner last year at Augusta National and played the U.S. Open at Pinehurst.

And as the 11-year-old shows in her Golf Digest My Shot with Guy Yocom, she understands the benefits of a ball rollback better than most golfers three, four, five, six, and in the case of a majority of the R&A members, seven times her age.

Jack Nicklaus has talked about making courses shorter, rolling back the golf ball and other ideas to make golf faster, easier and more fun. I agree with him. A big concern for me is the environment. If courses were shorter, they wouldn't need as much water.

And her vision for where golf is headed should give some idea how post-millennials will think.

One day, I could see golf being played in a large stadium, with a single hole changing into a different hole after the last one was complete. You'd actually hit the ball and watch it fly the whole distance, but after that a simulator would take over and change the landscape for the next shot. Mounds, covered with artificial turf, would grow or shrink. A green would rise. Giant fans would change the direction of the wind. You could play a whole round in an hour. And it would be a blast.

Friday
Mar272015

State Of The Game 54: Michael Bamberger

Longtime Sports Illustrated writer and author Michael Bamberger joins us to talk about a variety of issues along with his fascinating new book, Men In Green (A review and email Q&A with Michael are forthcoming.)

You can listen to the episode here. And as always the option exists to subscribe to the podcast via iTunes or listen to the episode here on iTunes.

Or download the MP3 here.

Friday
Mar272015

Tiger Getting $16.5 Million For Two China Design Projects?

That's what Josh Sens at golf.com says.

The funniest part? The developer, Pacific Links International, confirms and even produces a boilerplate quote from Woods. And Tiger's spokesman Glenn Greenspan? No comment.

Asked about the Beijing project, Tiger spokesman Glenn Greenspan said that Woods had nothing to announce at the moment.

But in a statement provided to Golf.com by Pacific Links, Woods is quoted as saying, “We strongly believe this course will stand the test of time and be one of the most prestigious courses in China, and even Asia.”

Pacific Links executives did not respond to questions about the financial terms of the deal.

It's still illegal to build a "golf course" in China where construction has been in full stop mode according to Dan Washburn (and others who, so maybe Team Tiger is just trying to avoid being seen as breaking the law?